See-Think-Do: a New Marketing Framework

AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) is no longer serving us as well as she did. At least according to Avinash Kaushik, renowned Digital Marketing Evangelist of Google.

Thanks to a podcast episode on Mitch Joel's brilliant Six Pixels of Separation, I learned that marketing in the digital age should be focused on what customers are thinking in various stages of consideration rather than what companies desire them to do.

This new spin on the marketing funnel can be boiled down to three stages of customer consideration:

- See: The largest possible stage, encompassing all possible customers of a particular category. Eg "all people who eat breakfasts", "all people who drive cars", etc.

- Think: A subset of the first, where people exhibit some degree of intent. Eg "all people who eat breakfasts who think that they need a different menu tomorrow".

- Do: The final stage of consideration where people are actively seeking to purchase. Eg "all people who eat breakfasts who think that they need a different menu tomorrow and are looking to buy something."

An example of this is visually represented by the diagram below:

Courtesy of Occam's Razor

With the See-Think-Do framework in mind, one should consider how content can be created, shaped and molded to attract audiences at all three stages of consideration. As most companies are focused on the "Do" stage - ie, getting customers to buy a product or service - they fail to resonate with potential customers who fall into the earlier stages of consideration.

Avinash cites the example of Modcloth, and how it's e-commerce website does a lot more than sell (see diagram below).

Courtesy of Occam's Razor

If you're in the "See" stage, you may be somebody who is just checking out what fashion trends are like this season. There are lots for you to experience on Modcloth's website - a blog, reviews, photos, and sharing buttons.

If you're in the more advanced "Think" stage, you can join their community to be alerted on fashion updates, get some tips from a ModStylist (why doesn't any of our local retailers do this?), or create a wishlist.

Naturally, like all e-commerce websites, Modcloth has an easy way for you to "Do", ie make the purchase by "Adding to Bag".

To apply Avinash's "See-Think-Do" framework, consider how your content, advertising channels, and metrics can be tailored to suit different audiences at their stages of consideration. Think about the social context in which your messages and ads appear and whether these will carry any weight with the audiences you're trying to attract.

In other words, as humorously described by Avinash below...

"No more running social ads with Do stage messages – it simply does not work. No more Product-centric pimpy ads in the See stage. No more BUY NOOOOOWWWWW ads on YouTube."

Integrating digital marketing and measurement strategies, the "See-Think-Act" framework can be visualised below:

Courtesy of Occam's Razor

I love the elegance of this new content marketing framework. It feels intuitively right, and provides a more logical way in which to pin one's various marketing, content creation, and advertising strategies. One size definitely does not fit all - not least in the digital world - and it makes sense for us to target a broader spectrum of potential consumers at various stages of consideration rather than aim for the very narrow slice of "ready to buy" customers.

Are there ways for us to apply these in our content marketing strategies? Do share your ideas below.

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